Joshua Jacobson


Transparency laws are designed to inform the public of government workings and to hold government officials accountable to the people. The emergence of email has amplified the government’s communicative abilities and simultaneously created major challenges for records management. These challenges were put on full display when it was revealed that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email address and server for government business while serving as Secretary of State. The email arrangement Clinton used was permissible under the law at that time, and despite recent changes, government employees may still use private email for non-classified correspondence so long as the messages are copied or forwarded to an official government account.

This Note argues that the present system fails to retain a significant number of government records and puts government email records at risk. Requiring government employees to oversee their own emails results in a conflict of interest. Additionally, records housed on private servers may have inadequate security protections and thus be at risk to hackers. A paradigm shift is needed to ensure that the ever-expanding number of digital communications are preserved and protected.